Cycle 5 – Item 149
3 (Tue) June 2014
Lamb Chop Meal
at Hobbit House
-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-
with CAL, CL, FL
Hobbit House is a western-style pub-restaurant. Noteworthy for 2 reasons: one, the menu boasts an impressive selection of beers from around the world, many that I’ve never heard of; two, the waitstaff is comprised of little people – “hobbits,” get it?
The establishment is the source of an on-going debate between me and JR, a colleague at WHO. Suggesting on several occasions that we go there for beers after work, he claims that his sole objective is the beer. I’ve been hesitant because the entire concept seems blatantly exploitative, especially in light of the photos on the internet of customers gleefully getting their photos with the servers. In response, JR points out that at least the little people, an otherwise maligned/marginalized group in Philippine society, are provided jobs in a relatively safe environment, which inevitably leads to comparisons with strippers and, being Manila, ladyboys. Frankly, I do see how the argument could go either way.
At long last, a group of us went to check it out (though without JR). First, I was relieved to see that the little people weren’t dressed in hobbit costumes, just t-shirts bearing the Hobbit House logo – they tried to sell to us t-shirts as we were settling the bill, which I found to be mildly demeaning. Second, on a quiet Tuesday evening, only one other party in the place besides us, no gangs of drunken tourists were on hand to hassle the little people, so they really seemed to be nothing more than servers. Thus, on the basis of this one visit, I admit that JR has the stronger position for now. We’ll have to go back on a weekend to confirm.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN PHILIPPINES)